CVS Fined by State Board for Poor Conditions in Pharmacies

| July 28, 2020

In an article published earlier this month, the New York Times described dangerous workplace conditions found in multiple CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) locations in Oklahoma that sound all too familiar to workplace conditions described by CVS pharmacists represented by Teamsters Local 727 in the Chicagoland area; conditions that representatives of Local 727 have been bringing to the attention of CVS management for years. In what the author describes as a “rare” turn of events, the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy fined CVS for staffing and prescription errors found in four Oklahoma stores. In addition to the fine, CVS must also distribute a memo to pharmacists throughout the state which highlights a law that requires pharmacists to report concerns if they feel that working conditions could inhibit safely filling prescriptions. Similar to the Oklahoma law, Local 727 fought hard to ensure that similar reporting and whistleblower protections were added to the Illinois Pharmacy Practice Act last year for this very reason.

Whether through contract negotiations, joint Union/Company meetings, or by the Union’s substantial involvement as a contributing member of the Illinois Pharmaceutical Task Force, Teamsters Local 727 has been warning CVS for years of the potential dangers that lack of technician help, adequate staffing, uninterrupted breaks, and 12-hour work days can cause. Time and time again, CVS has claimed that they listen to their employees’ concerns and that they take patient safety very seriously, but they have made zero changes to actually address these concerns. If anything, CVS has made things worse for pharmacists by: steadily decreasing the overall work hours budgeted for both pharmacists and technicians, changing pharmacists’ base hours, eliminating overlap between pharmacists, endlessly introducing additional duties/tasks, changing the hours of operations, threatening pharmacists with poor work performance over arbitrary metrics levels, and failing to hire and retain competent technicians in all of the Union represented pharmacies. CVS needs to realize that the only thing standing between their Company and a public safety emergency is the dedication and hard work of their pharmacists, which the Company has drastically discounted in negotiations.

“This recent finding by the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy will hopefully be the first of many wake-up calls to CVS! If the multiple concerns that their employees have articulated to them over and over again aren’t enough to get through to them, then maybe taking a chunk out of their bottom line will be. Until then, 727 will continue to bring our membership’s concerns to the forefront and fight for the pharmacists’ right to work in a safe environment,” said John Coli, Jr., Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727.

A full copy of the New York Times Article can be found by clicking here.

Please reach out to Business Agent Melissa Senatore at (847) 696-7500 with any questions or concerns.
Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.



Comments are closed.